It's a sad fact that the theft of goods from truck trailers, and even the trailers themselves, is big business - the value of goods stolen on Europe's roads is around DKK 60bn (USD 11.8bn) annually, reports professional journal Ingeniøren (The Engineer). It's a growing business too, according to Forsikring & Pension, whose figures show that the number of truck trailer thefts in Denmark rose 80% from 2006 to 2007. And while 8 out of 10 stolen trailers were recovered in 2006, the success rate dropped to just only 3 out of 10 in 2007.
Remedial action is needed, and a fledgling Danish electronics firm called i-protect is getting ready to supply it. The company has developed a unique IT-based locking and protection system for truck trailers called TransGuard. The system comprises a 'black box' embedded in the trailer and an external keypad, the codes for which separately control the releasing of the parked trailer's brakes, and the opening of its doors.
i-protect's computer sends the code which releases the trailer's brakes by SMS to the truck driver so that the goods can be transported, and on arrival at the destination the computer sends another code by SMS to the recipient of the goods so that the doors can be unlocked. Once sent, codes are only valid for 15 minutes.
Founded in 2003, i-protect is a Microsoft partner, and the TransGuard platform is standardised on Microsoft software. The TransGuard system can also be used in conjunction with GPS location monitoring systems, so that the precise geographical position of the trailer can be confirmed before brake-releasing or door-opening codes are sent.